Beliefs are a funny thing. I have a friend who believes that the Christmas spirit is an astrological projection of physical and mental well-being induced by the Winter Solstice. Its like arriving at the top of the hill on a spiritual roller coaster the excitement builds on the way up, you hang weightless for a second as time stands still, then plunge back into the world.
I also have friends who believe that this Christmas Day signifies the 2000 th anniversary of the birth of Christ, son of God. Another friend believes that Dec. 25 is the anniversary of the birth of the prophet Jesus. I also have friends who say Christ was not the son of God, but an influential Rabbi of the times.
One friend who can prove that Christ was a black man, while another celebrates Kwanzaa to recognize the spirituality and sense of community that guided his ancestors through hundreds of years of slavery and discrimination.
For the majority of people I know, however, Christmas is just a great time to give, to receive, to eat lots, and get subtly hammered with friends and relatives in front of a roaring fire.
So many beliefs, all spanning the same period of time. Coincidence? It only lends credence to the Winter Soltice idea, that we have a spiritual connectedness to the earth and the cosmos that we all feel in our bones and celebrate as a statutory holiday.
Regardless of your beliefs, the holiday season is a time to feel connected with family and friends, and to toast those who couldnt make it. Its also a good time to feel connected to the planet and, when New Years rolls around, to accept changes where changes is needed.
Whistler council and the municipality have officially adopted The Natural Step program, a framework for an environmentally sustainable world. Several early adopters have also signed on, including Whistler-Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler, Chateau Whistler, and Foto Source. More businesses are expected to join in as the early adopters roll the program out to the community over the next four months. At some point, the community will be brought into the equation, and every individual in town will have a part to play in determining whether this program is successful.
Its not difficult, it wont eat into your free time, and it definitely wont cost you anything its just a matter of thinking differently, and making the right choices as you go.
Visit this Web site and learn about The Natural Step program. Its coming anyway, so you might as well be ready for it. It might even inspire you to get involved.
More gratifying than a gift from Santa Claus is the idea that he gave it freely, expecting nothing in return. It truly is better to give than to receive, at least from a spiritual point of view, and to give anonymously borders on sainthood St. Nicholas himself used to put pieces of fruit and coins in the shoes of needy children to celebrate Christs birthday, and while the townspeople had a pretty good idea the local priest was responsible, the children didnt have a clue. The only way to properly count your blessings it seems is to share them with the less fortunate Scrooge learned that lesson after the worst night of his life.
One of the hardest parts about charity these days is not the act of parting with your money and belongings, its the question of who to give it to. There are close to 78,000(!) registered charities in Canada (or one for every 350 people), but that includes every animal shelter, public library, school board, art group, gun club, political party, after school group, and church in the country.
As a basic rule, stick to what you believe in. The choices are generally between people, animals and the environment. Visit Charity.ca, a hub for thousands of worthwhile Canadian charities, to learn more about contributing to charities (including tax benefits and why its in your best interest to cough up) and to register yourself as a donor.
Every New Years its the same old travesty. The clock strikes midnight and everyone stumbles around hugging and banging foreheads, spilling drinks on the carpet and getting recklessly sentimental. After youve made the rounds three different times and the carpet is well-saturated, somebody inevitably starts leading the room through a chorus of Auld Lang Syne, making it up as they go along. Nobody knows where it came from, nobody knows what it means, and, sure as hell, nobody knows the words.
Its all there on How Stuff Works the proud Scottish tradition (poet Robert Burns version is the most widely recognized), the meaning of the words (apparently auld lang syne means "times gone by", but nobody seems to know for sure), and the words to the song.
If youre going to get sentimental this New Years, then get it right.